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Valbuena, Rusin lead Cubs over White Sox 7-0

By MIKE TULUMELLO
Associated Press
  •  

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Luis Valbuena hit a three-run homer just inside the right field foul pole to highlight the Chicago Cubs' 7-0 win Friday over the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox.

Cubs pitcher Chris Rusin helped his bid for a roster spot by holding the White Sox to two hits in five innings. Four relievers shut out the White Sox the rest of the way.

''I was able to pound the zone again with strikes with all my pitches,'' Rusin said. ''The defense played real well behind me. They helped me a lot.

''I just need to work on my curveball for strikes, and that's what I did today. So far, things are going as planned.''

In 20 starts for the Cubs over the last two seasons, Rusin is 4-9 with a 4.69 ERA. The left-hander said he is trying not to think too much about his fate when spring training ends, but ''you've got to figure out where you're going to live. So you start to think about it a little.''

''My confidence is very high. I had a great spring last year, too. This year, I followed it up with another great spring. That's big,'' he said.

White Sox starter John Danks gave up four runs and six hits in five innings, including Valbuena's homer. White Sox reliever Matt Lindstrom, coming back from an oblique strain, pitched a scoreless inning in his first Cactus League appearance.

Valbuena was 2 for 3 with four RBIs, raising his batting average to .276. Cubs designated hitter Mike Olt went 2 for 4 and lifted his average to .289.

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Regardless of whether he makes the big club, Rusin said he's ''ready for it all.''

''I'm not going to hang my head. Just get better. That's all I've got to tell myself,'' he said.

White Sox: Danks is 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA this spring.

''I was able to throw all my pitches, and I feel good about where I'm at,'' he said. ''The goal today was to not walk anybody. I did that. The fastball command is not quite where we want it, but it's better than it's been.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: Manager Rick Renteria is so confident that shortstop Starlin Castro will return in time for opening day that a backup plan is ''not even under consideration at this point.''

Castro is recovering from a hamstring injury.

''All indications are he's 100 percent, so it shouldn't be an issue,'' Renteria said.

Castro ran the bases Thursday and participated in a full assortment of other baseball activities Friday. Now the team will see how he responds.

Castro will probably start hitting in minor league camp and then play in Cactus League games as spring training winds down, Renteria indicated.

Also, highly touted shortstop prospect Javier Baez left Friday's game with a bruised right heel after beating out an infield hit.

White Sox: Tyler Flowers left the game with a cramp during his at-bat in the sixth inning. The team later said Flowers was fine.

HIGHS AND LOWS

It's been a long spring at the plate for Cubs outfielder Junior Lake, who went 2 for 4 and is hitting .200.

''He's very cognizant of what he's trying to do,'' said Renteria, who said Lake is getting at-bats in minor league camp in addition to Cactus League games. ''I think he'll continue to maintain some calm, not think about numbers and just think about approaches.''

Lake has an undeniable upside in his prolific defensive skills. Those were on display Thursday when he leaped at the left field fence and robbed Seattle's Logan Morrison of a home run.

''A great catch,'' Renteria said. ''He really does work extremely hard in the outfield during batting practice. He tries to chase down every single ball he can. He's trying to run scenarios over in his head.''

INSIDE VIEW

Coming into the game, White Sox outfielder Jordan Danks was tied for the AL lead in homers with five. He ranked second in runs (13) and was fourth in slugging percentage (.838).

The person who knows him best isn't surprised.

''I'm so happy for him,'' said John Danks, Jordan's older brother. ''He's on fire.

''I told him the other day, he's doing everything he can. We'll see what happens with the lineup and the roster. He's definitely impressing me and I think impressing some of the higher-ups here.''

In limited major league duty over the last two seasons, Jordan Danks has batted .229 with six home runs.

''It's fun to watch him have success. He's kind of showing you all what I've known all along,'' John Danks said. ''I've seen him do it for a long time.''

FAMOUS VISITORS

Tony La Russa and basketball buddy Bob Knight spoke to the White Sox before the game. La Russa managed the White Sox from 1979-86.

 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Chicago

A. Dunn
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
Chicago

L. Valbuena
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
 

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Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Emilio Bonifacio, 2B3000100 .243
   Wes Darvill, PR-2B1100000 .333
Junior Lake, CF4021100 .200
Anthony Rizzo, 1B4000001 .314
   Rafael Lopez, C1000011 .182
Mike Olt, DH4120102 .289
Justin Ruggiano, LF4110012 .323
   Dustin Geiger, 1B0000000 .000
Javier Baez, SS3010014 .310
   Chris Valaika, PR-SS1000000 .212
Ryan Kalish, RF4111022 .300
Luis Valbuena, 3B3224012 .276
   Darnell McDonald, LF1000000 .261
John Baker, C3000000 .300
   Chris Coghlan, 3B0100100 .207
Chris Rusin, P0000000 .000
   Alberto Cabrera, P0000000 .000
   Wesley Wright, P0000000 .000
   Jonathan Sanchez, P0000000 .000
   Brian Schlitter, P0000000 .000
Totals3679646  
Batting
2B - Junior Lake (2, Danks), Mike Olt (1, Danks)
HR - Luis Valbuena 2 (4, Danks)
RBI - Junior Lake (3), Ryan Kalish (1), Luis Valbuena 4 (10)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Kalish (1), Luis Valbuena 3 (6)
CS - Chris Valaika (1, 2nd base by Lindstrom/Flowers)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Darvill-Valaika-Geiger
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Chris Rusin (W,3-2) 5200030 3.78
Alberto Cabrera (H,2) 1000110 1.13
Wesley Wright (H,1) 1100000 6.00
Jonathan Sanchez (H,1) 1000020 7.04
Brian Schlitter 1000010 1.50
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Rusin 23-23, Alberto Cabrera 9-5, Wesley Wright 3-3, Jonathan Sanchez 7-7, Brian Schlitter 5-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Rusin 8-4, Alberto Cabrera 1-1, Wesley Wright 1-1, Jonathan Sanchez 1-0, Brian Schlitter 2-0
Batters Faced - Chris Rusin 17, Alberto Cabrera 4, Wesley Wright 3, Jonathan Sanchez 3, Brian Schlitter 3
Chicago (A.L.) White Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Adam Eaton, CF3000010 .316
   Jordan Danks, CF1000000 .368
Marcus Semien, 2B3000100 .344
Jose Abreu, 1B2010000 .317
   Alex Liddi, 1B2000011 .263
Adam Dunn, DH3010011 .206
Avisail Garcia, RF3010002 .277
Conor Gillaspie, 3B3000012 .250
Dayan Viciedo, LF3000011 .263
   Blake Tekotte, LF0000000 .167
Alexei Ramirez, SS3000000 .273
   Cleuluis Rondon, SS0000000 .000
Tyler Flowers, C2000010 .233
   a-Jaime Pedroza, PH0000000 .000
   Adrian Nieto, C1000010 .250
John Danks, P0000000 .000
   Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
   Scott Downs, P0000000 .000
   Ronald Belisario, P0000000 .000
   Donnie Veal, P0000000 .000
   Maikel Cleto, P0000000 .000
Totals2903017  
a-announced for Flowers in the 6th
Batting
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Conor Gillaspie (1, Misplayed grounder)
Chicago (A.L.) White Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
John Danks (L,0-1) 5644021 3.50
Matt Lindstrom 1100010 0.00
Scott Downs 0.1122101 12.46
Ronald Belisario 1000210 7.36
Donnie Veal 0.2000010 1.29
Maikel Cleto 1111110 1.29
WP - John Danks (1), Ronald Belisario (1), Maikel Cleto (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Danks 27-26, Matt Lindstrom 6-5, Scott Downs 10-4, Ronald Belisario 13-5, Donnie Veal 4-4, Maikel Cleto 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Danks 8-6, Matt Lindstrom 1-0, Scott Downs 1-0, Ronald Belisario 2-0, Donnie Veal 1-0, Maikel Cleto 1-1
Batters Faced - John Danks 22, Matt Lindstrom 3, Scott Downs 3, Ronald Belisario 5, Donnie Veal 2, Maikel Cleto 5
Game Information
Attendance - 13038
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Ben May, Third Base - Pat Hoberg